HAMDEN, Conn. — Eric Hartzell stopped all 16 shots he saw in Quinnipiac’s 4-0 win over Robert Morris. Hartzell’s success dates back to last week in the Bobcats 2-1 win at Maine. Hartzell allowed just one goal at the Alfond 3:41 into the first period. Since then, Hartzell has been lights out.
“Hartzell was the best player on the ice tonight for us,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “We certainly got a lot of energy out of our first goal and from there on our compete level ramped up and we continued to get better and had a really good third period.”
Hartzell knows that in order for the Bobcats to be successful this season, he must perform at the top of his game.
“I think the guys did a lot over the offseason, and I worked hard with Steve Valiquette all summer long,” Hartzell said. “We weren’t expecting anything less from our team, and I certainly wasn’t expecting less from myself.”
After a scoreless first period, a seemingly broken play turned into Quinnipiac’s first goal.
A pass to the right point almost sneaked out of the Robert Morris zone, but Loren Barron reached back to keep the puck in. Barron wristed a soft shot toward the net that Russell Goodman tipped past RMU’s Eric Levine.
“We let them get rolling a little bit when we got sloppy with the puck and their chances and goals were created by turnovers by us in key areas,” Colonials’ coach Derek Schooley said.
Quinnipiac extended its lead with 3:49 left in the second period on Cory Hibbeler’s first goal of the season.
Barron added a goal of his own 4:56 into the third period on a snipe from the right circle.
“I still don’t know how it went in,” Pecknold said smiling. “He didn’t have much to shoot at and Levine is very good and he actually stood up on the play.”
After Kellen Jones kept the puck in at the left point, he fed Barron on the far side. Barron quickly snapped a wrist shot that beat Levine just under the cross bar.
“Hartzell and I have been working on that in practice a little bit and it kind of just crossed over to today,” Barron noted.
Quinnipiac added one more 8:10 into the third on a short-handed goal from Jeremy Langlois. The play started in Quinnipiac’s own zone when Clay Harvey blocked a shot from the Robert Morris blue line. Harvey pick up his own deflection and skated to the far side in the neutral zone. Langlois joined the rush and Harvey slid a pass through the slot that Langlois tipped in the top left corner of the net.
Despite the loss, Schooley believes his young team gained valuable experience.
“Every time you play you learn something and today some of our guys learned about what it is like to play college hockey,” said Schooley. “Still, we aren’t going to use our youth as an excuse.”
While Schooley is not ready to use it as an excuse, it is important to note that RMU did dress seven freshmen compared to Quinnipiac’s one.
The two teams will finish the weekend series tomorrow at 12 p.m.